Written by Stephen Rheinberg
FRIDAY, November 4, 2022 (HealthDay News) — The US Food and Drug Administration has suggested limiting the amount of nicotine in cigarettes to an addictive minimum, but there has been concern that low nicotine could exacerbate anxiety in smokers who may already be. Battle mood issues.
However, a new study has shown that cigarettes containing nicotine at 5% of the normal dose Can Helping anxious or depressed smokers quit, they do so without increasing the mood or anxiety problems that led them to smoke in the first place.
“There don’t seem to be any worrisome, unintended consequences of having to switch to low-nicotine cigarettes,” said Jonathan Foulds, professor of public health sciences and psychiatry at Penn State University School of Medicine.
“Conversely, the result appears to be that smokers feel less addictive to their cigarettes and are more able to quit when they are offered relatively short help at follow-up appointments in addition to NRT,” he said.
Foulds said smokers with mood and anxiety disorders showed no signs of “excessive smoking” of low-nicotine cigarettes, and there was no sign that switching to them had worsened their mental health.
The US Food and Drug Administration has suggested limiting the amount of nicotine in cigarettes to an addictive minimum. Doing so not only reduces addiction, Foulds said, but also reduces exposure to toxic substances and increases the odds of quitting.
In 2019, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved two low-nicotine cigarettes from 22nd Century Group, Inc. – Moonlight and Moonlight Menthol. These brands are in market testing and are not generally available, Folds said.
“It would be appropriate to protect public health to move forward with the implementation of such a regulation as soon as possible,” he said. “It has now been more than 50 years since it became clear that cigarettes are deadly and addictive when used as intended. It is time to take action to reduce the addictive portion of cigarettes.”
This view was echoed by Dr. Panajis Galiasatos, MD, associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and a volunteer medical spokesperson for the American Lung Association.
“Reducing the amount of nicotine in cigarettes has been a public health approach that we have been striving for over the past two decades,” said Galyatatos, who was part of the study. “Nicotine is the reason why people keep coming back to cigarettes, knowing the toxins are out there, knowing these carcinogens are there, not because they want to create bad health situations for themselves.”
For the study, Foulds and colleagues studied 188 smokers with mood or anxiety disorders who did not want to quit. They were randomly assigned to smoke cigarettes with the usual amount of nicotine or those with reduced nicotine content in stages over 18 weeks.
During that time, the researchers found no significant differences in mental health between the two groups. And those given reduced nicotine cigarettes were more likely to quit smoking than those whose smoke contained normal amounts of nicotine – 18% versus 4%.
Dr. Pamela Ling, director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco, who reviewed the findings, said.
She noted that people with mental health conditions die earlier than the general population, often from smoking-related illnesses.
Ling said it was time to make low-nicotine cigarettes the only smoke available.
“This study should allay concerns that reducing nicotine smoking may exacerbate symptoms in people with mental health disorders,” said Laing. “It’s time for the Food and Drug Administration to take action to reduce nicotine in cigarettes to minimal levels. This study suggests that such action would help smokers quit, including those with mental health conditions.”
Ultimately, Galyatsatos said, it is politics, not health concerns, that will decide whether low-nicotine cigarettes will replace today’s cigarettes.
“If this was simply a fight over broccoli, we would have won,” he said. “It’s not. It makes a lot of money for a lot of people. But from a clinician’s point of view, we need to seize these opportunities to implement appropriate clinical guidelines to make these patients non-smokers.”
The study was published online November 2 in the journal PLUS ONE.
To learn more about quitting smoking, visit US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
SOURCES: Jonathan Foulds, Ph.D., professor, Public Health Sciences and Psychiatry, Penn State University, Hershey; Panagis Galyatatos, MD, volunteer medical speaker, American Lung Association, and Assistant Professor, Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore; Pamela Ling, MD, MSc in Public Health, Director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, University of California, San Francisco; PLUS ONENovember 2, 2022, online